Thursday, January 24, 2008

Interesting quotes...

In the article, "Abortions Battle of Messages," Francis Kissling and Kate Michelman question their very own "choice movement." My comments are in blue bold. The red is just what I'm highlighting in the original text.

In the 1970s, the arguments were simple and polarized: Abortion was either murder or a woman's right to control her body. The fetus, however, stayed largely invisible. The pro-choice movement stayed on the message offensive, tactically shifting in 1989 from women's bodies to the "who decides" question posed by NARAL Pro-Choice America. But this was rapidly parried by the anti-choice demand that we look at what was being decided, not just who was deciding. Yes, we should all look at "what" is being decided (a.k.a. A BABY).

Science facilitated the swing of the pendulum. Three-dimensional ultrasound images of babies in utero began to grace the family fridge. Fetuses underwent surgery. More premature babies survived and were healthier. They commanded our attention, and the question of what we owe them, if anything, could not be dismissed. These trends gave antiabortionists an advantage, and they made the best of it. Now, we rarely hear them talk about murdering babies. Well, it still is murdering babies.

Instead, they present a sophisticated philosophical and political challenge. Caring societies, they say, seek to expand inclusion into "the human community." Those once excluded, such as women and minorities, are now equal. Why not welcome the fetus (who, after all, is us) into our community? "The fetus" is a human being in the fetal stage of life. To say "fetus" in such a way that aims to suggest that some'thing' is less than human, is to be ignorant of basic biology.

Advocates of choice have had a hard time dealing with the increased visibility of the fetus. Duh, because it's a little baby! The preferred strategy is still to ignore it and try to shift the conversation back to women. At times, this makes us appear insensitive, a bit too pragmatic in a world where the desire to live more communitarian and "life-affirming" lives is palpable. To some people, pro-choice values seem to have been unaffected by the desire to save the whales and the trees, to respect animal life and to end violence at all levels. Pope John Paul II got that, and coined the term "culture of life." President Bush adopted it, and the slogan, as much as it pains us to admit it, moved some hearts and minds. Supporting abortion is tough to fit into this package.

If pro-choice values are to regain the moral high ground, genuine discussion about these challenges needs to take place within the movement. It is inadequate to try to message our way out of this problem. Yep. Our vigorous defense of the right to choose needs to be accompanied by greater openness regarding the real conflict between life and choice, between rights and responsibility. It is time for a serious reassessment of how to think about abortion in a world that is radically changed from 1973. Yes, please re-asses. Become pro-life!


Blogger Cranky Catholic said...

Whenever I hear a pro-abortionist use the word 'fetus', it feels like I'm hearing the 'N' word.

January 24, 2008 2:24 AM  

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